Mar 7, 2007
No, it’s not some kind of deviant gorillas in the mist story, apparently, millions of years ago our ancestors picked up pubic lice (crabs) either by sleeping in gorilla nests (without the gorilla) or through eating our silver-backed cousins. David Reed and colleagues at the University of Florida publish details of their findings today in BMC Biology journal.
Reed is quick to point out that there was no monkey business between gorillas and humans. Of course gorillas are apes not monkeys, but this would be a perfect story for Ricky Gervais podcast star Karl Pilkington. “It certainly wouldn’t have to be what many people are going to immediately assume it might have been, and that is sexual intercourse occurring between humans and gorillas,” Reed says, “Instead of something sordid, it could easily have stemmed from an activity that was considerably more tame.”
Reed suggests that 3.3 million years ago, gorilla lice took up residence in the pubic region in our ancestors, this was probably around the same time that evolution took us from a fully hirsute state to our current nakedness. With no hair on our bodies other than the head and pubic regions, the lice would have been hard pushed to linger anywhere else.